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(A) Identify how the gravitational potential energy changes as a shuttle takes off from the launch pad.
(b) Explain the consequences to the space craft and its occupants if the shuttle is undergoing re-entry, and the angle of re-entry is significantly greater (steeper) than optimal.

  • Physics -

    at first use mgh but as radius gets to be order of magnitude of earth radius you have to integrate using
    F = integral of Gravitational constant*mshuttle*mearth/r^2 dr
    which is constant * (1/rearth-1/rshuttleaboveearth)

    If angle is steep, force of gravity becomes much bigger that mass times centripetal acceleration becuase V tangential is too small and body accelertates downward too fast.

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